Reptile smugglers busted after turtles and lizards found hidden in children’s toys sent from Indonesia to Sydney
- Around 50 reptiles were found hidden in toy building blocks in Sydney airport
- The contraband package was intercepted by border force from Indonesia
- Vets took the animals out of the concealed packaging and euthanised them
- The detection was commended by officers for ‘outstanding’ border security
Border force security have intercepted 50 turtles and lizards that were found concealed in a package sent from Indonesia to Sydney airport in an attempt to illegally import the animals into Australia.
The package, which was declared as ‘toys’, was x-rayed by Australian Border Force officers in Sydney and the contraband reptiles were discovered hidden inside the building blocks.
Vets secured the contraband and the animals were then euthanised, confirmed head of biosecurity operations Nico Padovan,
Around 50 lizards and turtles (pictured) were intercepted at Sydney airport after it arrived from Indonesia
‘People sending lizards and turtles through the mail have no concern for the welfare of the animals or the potential biosecurity risk they present to our country and people,’ he said.
‘Importing turtles and lizards without an import permit is not only breaking the law, but it puts human health and the health of our environmental ecosystems at risk.’
Tim Fitzgerald, ABF Regional Commander New South Wales, said the quick detection is a reflection of Australia’s ‘outstanding’ border security processes.
‘Australian Border Force Officers at the International Mail Centre in Sydney have done an outstanding job in identifying and examining a high risk package being imported from Indonesia, where numerous turtles and lizards were cruelly concealed in building blocks,’ he said.
Vets secured the contraband and the animals were then euthanised, confirmed head of biosecurity operations Nico Padovan
Australian Border Force noticed anomalies as the packaged toys passed through security (pictured)
Mr Padovan also said ensuring Australia’s biosecurity was not just about stopping things at the border.
‘We work offshore to reduce the likelihood pests and diseases make it to Australia, at the border to stop them when they do, and onshore to detect and eradicate pests and diseases that make it here,’he added.
‘In 2015-16 around 138 million international mail articles were sent to Australia, with 19 million international travellers coming through Australian airports.
The illegal turtle and lizard importation matter is still under investigation.
It was found the blocks were concealing reptiles. which were then taken out of the packaging and euthanised